Using voice chat on your Nintendo Switch is, unfortunately, not as easy as it is on PlayStation or Xbox. It could be, but it isn’t. The Nintendo Switch does have a headphone jack that supports a mic, but the games that support in-game voice chat are laughably lacking.

However, Nintendo isn’t Nintendo unless they’re making bizarre choices, like releasing the Nintendo Switch Online application for iOS and Android devices.

The Nintendo Switch Online app is a stand-in for the lack of a native voice chat on the system itself. Below you’ll find both ways of using voice chat, via microphone and the Nintendo Switch Online app.

Voice Chat on Nintendo Switch via Microphone

This method is hit or miss. The Nintendo Switch does not come with its own built-in chat functionality, not like Sony’s PlayStation or Microsoft’s Xbox. While it does come with a headphone jack, the mic will only work on certain games, in fact, it works with only one game: Fortnite. It’s great for you if you play Fortnite.

Not so great if you don’t. That is soon changing, given the fact that the software used for the Switch version of Fortnite can be licensed to other developers now. It’s only a matter of time before other games follow suit.

1. First, locate the headphone jack on your Nintendo Switch. It’s located on the top of the Nintendo Switch, and to the left of the game card reader. Afterwards, snag yourself a headset that has a mic.

2. Plug the headset into the Nintendo Switch’s headphone jack. Be sure that it’s connected all the way or it won’t work.

3. Insert the game cartridge that works with just a mic.

4. Launch the game by selecting it using the Joy-Cons docked or removed or select a game from the home screen with your finger. The Nintendo Switch does have a touch screen.

5. Join a multiplayer session. Depending on the game, there aren’t any extra steps to get the mic working. It will work with the headset and mic simply plugged in.

via Online App

With the Nintendo Switch Online app, you can fill the gap that the Nintendo Switch is missing. While it is a pain to split the functions up, using the Nintendo Switch Online app does open more doors for online chat, rather than the limited use the headphone jack has.

1. Locate and launch the Google Play Store app. Its icon is a colorful triangle. You can find it on one of your home screens or in your App Drawer.

For iOS devices, use the App Store. Its icon is several white writing utensils in the shape of an ‘A’ against a blue backdrop. You’ll find it on the home screen. iOS does not have an App Drawer.

2. In the Google Play Store, select the search bar at the top and type in “Nintendo Switch Online” and tap the icon in the search results. The Nintendo Switch Online app is two Joy-Cons against a red backdrop, printed with the word ONLINE.

For iOS devices, tap Search at the bottom. Its icon is a magnifying glass. Afterwards, type in “Nintendo Switch Online” and choose the app from the search results.

3. On the Nintendo Switch Online information page, select Install. For iOS devices, select Get and then Install.

4. Locate and launch the Nintendo Switch Online app. Check your home screen.

5. Sign into the Nintendo Switch Online app with your Nintendo account. You cannot use the app without one. If you don’t, you can create one right there on the spot.

6. Just like with the headphone jack, not every game supports online chat functionality. However, the Nintendo Switch Online app supports more games than using the headphone jack would. So, select a game that supports the Nintendo Switch Online app.

7. Since you’ve chosen a game that supports online chat, it will have its own way of connecting you and your friends to an online lounge. Create one. Creating a room will function with your Nintendo Switch Online app.

8. On your smartphone or tablet, invite friends through social media, a friend of yours on the Nintendo Switch or other players that you’ve recently played with.

9. Once your invitations are sent and accepted, those people will get added to the room and the app will function like any other online chat app. You can invite more people, mute the chatroom and even leave.

Voice Chat Has Its Limitations

It’s no secret that Nintendo is slow to embrace certain features completely. And when they do implement a specific feature, one that its customers ask for, it’s done so in half measures.

The Nintendo Voice Chat app is the perfect bit of evidence to bolster that opinion. While Microsoft’s Xbox and Sony’s PlayStation come with built-in chat functionality, Nintendo, rather than do the same, do so in a very clunky manner.

With that being said, there is some headway being made. The fact that some games have their own chat functionality does make it better to deal with, but it isn’t a universal feature among all games, nor the console. Only time will tell if, or when, Nintendo has its own built-in chat functionality and not through an app.